The struggle to punish the guilty shall continue without letup!
The nightmare of February 28, 2002 and the days that followed still haunt the people of Gujarat and all those fighting for justice. Those who lost their near and dear ones and suffered in those events -- the tragic burning of 50 kar sevaks in a train at Godhra station and then the genocide of people of the Muslim faith, the brutal murders, rapes and all kinds of unimaginable atrocities committed on the people – are still awaiting justice. The guilty remain unpunished. No responsibility has been fixed on the ruling BJP or the state officials, who organized and oversaw the execution of the genocide, as has been established by incontrovertible facts. Those who organized the genocide remain in power, with the full backing of the central state.
Many Commissions of Enquiry have been appointed (See Box) to investigate the various events of the genocide, the role of the police and officials in the highest offices of the state government including the Chief Minister. These Commissions have served their real purpose. That is to dissipate the anger of the people awaiting justice, through long drawn proceedings, so that people do not conclude that these massacres were state organized, and retain illusions that some arm of the state would punish the guilty.
Earlier this month, the Special Investigation Team set up by the Supreme Court on Gujarat declared Narendra Modi "innocent". On the other hand, the advocate appointed by the Supreme Court to assist its investigations declared that Modi’s role should be further probed and that there are grounds for his prosecution. This means that while nothing will happen to those who organized the Gujarat genocide, the ruling Congress at the center will continue to use the Gujarat genocide to target Modi and the BJP, for its own narrow interests. And people will be kept waiting for the promised day of "Justice"!
People of our country have given their verdict long ago, and are not waiting for the Supreme Court to pronounce on who is the guilty! Over the last 10 years, testimonies of victims, human rights groups, independent media reports and even the SIT’s own findings clearly show that the genocide was state- organized. Among many such investigations, in April 2002, a Concerned Citizen’s Tribunal headed by Justice Krishna Iyer, which included retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Sawant and retired judge of Bombay High Court, Justice Suresh, indicted Chief Minister Modi and his Ministers for their role in the genocide.
Experience of the last 10 years has shown how the efforts of citizens' groups to secure justice for the victims have been systematically thwarted, the courts and the police have been manipulated, guilty officers have been rewarded while officers who opposed the killings have been penalised, official records and evidence have been destroyed.
The genocide in 2002 in Gujarat was planned, organized and executed with chilling similarity to the massacre of Sikhs in Delhi and other places by the than ruling Congress Party in November 1984. As is well known, the perpetrators of that massacre too continue to remain unpunished, 27 years later!
The Communist Ghadar Party of India has been in the forefront of the struggle to punish the guilty of 1984, 1992 and 2002. We have consistently explained that the people cannot expect those who are the organizers of communal genocide to either ensure justice or prevent future genocides. We cannot expect the Indian state and political parties like Congress or BJP to do so. We cannot expect that the organizers and perpetrators of the crime will punish themselves for it.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar calls on the working class and people to unite and step up the struggle for punishment of all those guilty of such heinous crimes against our people. Let us step up the struggle for political power in the hands of the people, so that we can ensure that those in positions of command be accountable for their responsibility of preventing communal massacres and violence, that mechanisms be put in place to ensure that those guilty of such heinous crimes are punished, regardless of their social position.
Protecting the criminals and assassins
- On 6 March 2002, the Gujarat government set up a commission of enquiry headed by retired High Court judge K.G. Shah to enquire into the Godhra train burning and the subsequent violence and to submit a report in three months. In May 2002, the government reconstituted the commission, appointing retired Supreme Court Justice G.T. Nanavati to lead the commission. In March 2012, the Nanavati Commission’s term was extended for the 18th time, till December 2012! No verdict yet!
- In September 2004, the central government appointed the Banerjee Committee to probe the Godhra train fire. The BJP and the Gujarat Inspector General of Police challenged the Committee’s conclusion that the fire was accidental.
- In April 2009, the Supreme Court appointed the Special Investigation Team (SIT) “to investigate and expedite the riot cases” in response to charges filed against Modi.
- In November 2010, the Supreme Court appointed a Senior Advocate as Amicus Curiae (someone who volunteers to offer information to assist a court in deciding a matter before it) to look into charges filed by various persons against Modi and his government. The findings and conclusions of the Amicus Curiae vary with those of the SIT, and there is no resolution of that yet.